Madam, please come and pick up your child!

Chotu Singh goes to a play group each morning and he usually really enjoys himself. There’s ample space to run around – something he doesn’t have in our 1000sqft flat – and a chance for “sand play”. It took a while but he’s settled down now and he says he wants to go to “school”. Occasionally though, he gets a bit cranky and starts crying. When this happens I get a call, “Madam, please come and pick up your child. He’s crying.”

Now, Chotu’s daycare is 2 minutes from The Hero’s place of work they’re both about 15 minutes from home. My place of work is approximately 45 minutes away. So the implicit agreement is that all pick-ups and drops are handled by The Hero. We’ve communicated this to the school and let them know that the primary contact is Chotu’s father not his mom. But I’m still the one who gets the call. Because “We always call the mother first”.

Two things infuriate me. First is the implicit assumption that it’s always the mother’s “duty” to handle such things. Second is the implication that dads are passive parents. In reality The Hero is a much more hands on parent than I am because he has more flexible hours and also because he just is the pick-up, giggle, tickle, stuff food, wipe noses kind of parent. I’m the one who likes to manage the logistics, so to speak. I stock up on diapers, handle the laundry, boil the water, sort out his toys and clothes, sing and rock him to sleep, force his mouth open to take cold medicine, and so on. I’m not half as much fun as Daddy is. BUT people assume that I should be doing it all. One of our neighbours not only assumes that Daddy does nothing but also keeps saying it.

It really gets me annoyed. Chotu has an awesome Daddy. Chotu’s Daddy is so awesome that he makes up for Chotu’s Mommy not being around because of a long commute and challenging job. I want people to acknowledge that this Dad right here is the kind of dad all men should try to be. He plays with his child, cooks for him, feeds him, rocks him to sleep, cuddles him, tickles him, teaches him to recognize a capacitor, and say “kaka poopy” when a crow does its business on our car (kaka = crow in baby talk).

Chotu’s dad deserves to be given a lot more credit and I deserve a lot less finger pointing. Madam, if my child cries, his father will be there in two minutes. That’s the way it works in our home so please make a note in your records.

7 Replies to “Madam, please come and pick up your child!”

  1. I feel exactly the same way for H too! He is totally hands on. He manages kids single handedly now that I have started traveling too. But most of the times people inquire – Oh, who will take care of the kids, aha! grandparents are there. Aaha! the maid is there. The truth is even if they are there, H does everything for them. From feeding them, getting them ready for school to putting them to sleep. But people just assume he is good for nothing because of his Y chromosome and that my maid can do the job better! It infuriates me. Really, high time men get their due in parenting!

    1. Yes! High time. My dad was always a very hands on parent as well so it never seemed extraordinary to me when Hero was the same but as I make more mommy friends I realize how special men like them are and not just in the Indian context!

      I’m glad things are changing with people like your husband and mine. At least our kids are going to grow up knowing this is normal.

      1. Yup, high time that hands on dad are considered normal. In our generation they are either the butt of jokes or are placed on pedestal and we are considered “oh, so lucky!”

  2. Now i know i have company.. There is a whatsapp mommy group in the day care where the husband is the member from our family.. I am not a part of any such group. I said it all. Why oh why, do the next gen parents also turn their sons into MCPs and daughters into potential good indian desi ishtyle bahus??? Sigh.. Sigh.. Damn!! 3 cheers to daddys who take the role of ‘mommy’ (ouch!)

    1. Three cheers for Dads who’re actual parents 🙂

      To answer your other question, people who’re more conservative will continue to propagate what they think is right just as we want to teach our kids what *we* think is right. Freedom of speech. Sigh!

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